EP160: Kallakak’s Cousins

(Updated 5/30: Corrected misspelled name in the title. Sorry, Cat.)

By Cat Rambo.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, March 2008.

“Sometimes we don’t realize that what we want isn’t good for us,” the man said, speaking for the first time. He stared intently at Kallakak.

“Dominance rituals do not work well on me,” Kallakak said, roughening his voice to rudeness. “I will see you in five days in the court.” He decided not to burn his bridges too far. “I will tally up the cost of my goods by then and will have a definite figure.” Let them think him acquiescent while he tried to find another way to save his shop. He stepped into the lift, but they did not follow him, simply watched as the doors slid closed and he was carried away.

Making his way back to his quarters, he saw three figures standing before it. He paused, wondering if the Jellidoos had decided to lean on him further. The trio turned in unison to face him, and he recognized them with a sinking heart. The cousins.

Rated G. Contains shady commerce and dim relations.

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Referenced Sites:
Wiscon 2008
The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories by Cat Rambo & Jeff Vandermeer